Midnight Music from TOKiMONSTA
August 23, 2013 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Jennifer Lee makes music under the name TOKiMONSTA. The Los Angeles born-and-raised musician started out in beat-battles, then released some remixes that got broader recognition in a style clearly inspired by older hip-hop and trip-hop. She got her start releasing her music through her friend, Flying Lotus, but has only released one EP for his Brainfeeder label. Her discography includes two proper albums, a handful of EPs and singles, plus various appearances on compilations, never sticking with a single label for any length of time. Her style started with 1990s hip-hop and trip-hop, branched out into IDM and "grittier" styles, and her new album, Half Shadows, was said to range from "delightfully weird" for the collaboration with Kool Keith, to "lush, hypnotic" for the track with Andreya Triana. The album also features a collaboration with MNDR (possibly NSFW skimpy clothing scene in intro) and with Gavin Turek.

Lee is a fan of 1990s era Ninja Tune stuff, citing DJ Shadow, Blockhead, and DJ Krush amongst her early influences, which definitely come across in her first EPs, Bedtime Lullabies (2008; featuring her first vocal collaboration, with the Japanese rapper Shing02) and Cosmic Intoxications (2010). The year that her first EP came out, she also released a collection of remixes, called The Attention Deficit. From this beginning, TOKiMONSTA moved from the sample-based boom-bap to IDM and grittier sounds with her first album, Midnight Menu (2010), still keeping in the broad west coast weird beat scene sound. She noted that the track Lucid Waking is one of the rare direct credits to her Korean heritage, featuring big booming Korean drums.

Creature Dreams, her EP from 2011, was her first (and to date, only) release on Brainfeeder, and features vocals from Gavin Turek. The next year, she had a few other collaborations, with a freebie single, Fame Boozer's Lullaby feat. Rucyl, and she worked with Suzi Analogue as Analogmonsta (warning: hyperactive website background), and they made a free album, Boom (download/stream).

TOKiMONSTA was back with her second album in 2013, Half Shadows, which takes its title and theme from a book by Haruki Murakami titled "Kafka on the Shore," . The album was released on Ultra Music, a large dance music label that has recently merged with Sony Music. Lee's choice to release her album with Ultra surprised some folks as it seemed like a major shift from prior releases, with some claiming she's going more commercial. She tweeted a response to this idea that the label shaped her album, and she stated
FYI, Half Shadows would have been the same exact album no matter what label it released on
and described more of her working relationship with Ultra in another interview.

You can dig through her discography above, and check out past mixes below. Downloadable mixes are noted with [DL]

2009 A short Mary Anne Hobbs show from the 10th of June [DL]
2009 Sonic Router Mix #028: Tokimonsta
2010 TOKiMONSTA live at Sónar Festival, June 18th
2010 Two-part mix for Gilles Peterson Worldwide
2010 Autumn Heat Wave (limited edition mix)
2011 Resident Advisor interview and podcast [DL]
2011 Knocksteady Presents | Podcast 70
2011 Lovewithsound mix for Oki-Ni
2012 Analog Monsta mix [DL]
2012 Mix played on the Oct. 14 episode of Diplo and Friends
2013 360Radiostation Mix Rundown guestmix [DL]
2013 Mixmag Mix of the Week for May 30 [DL]
2013 Jessie Andrews & TOKiMONSTA present: The Girlfriend Mix, Volume VII
posted by filthy light thief (11 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
This is relevant to my interests
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:04 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was already hooked when FlyLo came up, but when I saw that her new album is inspired by Kafka on the Shore of all things I became fully committed. Thanks for the tip-off!
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:26 PM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Great post, esp. the mixes links.

flt - Is there a good resource for finding/tracking all the mixes an artist has done? Esp. nowadays when people seems to put out a mix every two to three days. Would basically like a Discogs that was very good about updating with the latest mixes. I just started rediscovering Ikonika, for example, and was hoping to find mixes she had done thru easier means than Googling.
posted by shortfuse at 10:26 PM on August 23, 2013

Thank you for the great post, I will be following the artist with interest.
posted by Rei Toei at 4:41 AM on August 24, 2013

> She noted that the track Lucid Waking is one of the rare direct credits to her Korean heritage, featuring big booming Korean drums.

Samulnori is a genre that deserves its own fpp some day.
posted by ardgedee at 5:16 AM on August 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

This is an awesome post, thanks.
posted by windbox at 5:30 AM on August 24, 2013

Nice tip.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:46 AM on August 24, 2013

Is there a good resource for finding/tracking all the mixes an artist has done?

The only thing I know of is MixesDB, which is a wiki-structured site. For example, here's TOKiMONSTA's page, er, category.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:52 AM on August 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, you have to use multiple sources, like discogs and others to piece together a whole artist story.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:57 AM on August 24, 2013

The only thing I know of is MixesDB

AY yay! I had no idea. I just checked "Category:Digweed".. 4 mixes in the last month, and ... 871 going back to 1992 ??!! OUT OF CONTROL!
posted by Twang at 4:42 PM on August 24, 2013

Yup, as it is a wiki, it is up to the fans to add new mixes to the list. The more popular artists have more complete pages.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:29 AM on August 25, 2013

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